Typhoons and A400Ms embark on intense 10-day drills over Alaska

All systems go at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for the beginning of the Arctic Defender exercise, organized by the U.S. Air Force. This year’s buzzworthy update is the participation of air forces from Spain, France, and Germany. These nations are currently engaged in an unprecedented deployment – Pacific Skies – stretching across the Asia-Pacific region for two and a half months. 

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On the Air Force front, the Plus Ultra group, which includes four Eurofighters and two A400Ms, along with their aircrews and ground support teams, is on-site and ready at the well-positioned Alaskan air base. 

Mark your calendars for Monday, July 8, which marks the kickoff of the first of three exercises within the Pacific Skies 24 itinerary: Arctic Defender. Known for being the most challenging of the three, these maneuvers are designed to enhance the tactical skills of participating units and boost interoperability. 

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This Red Flag-type exercise, running until July 17, is a combat simulation between two opposing air forces. Participants engage in highly realistic scenarios, even incorporating real weapons in certain missions. The goal? To prepare pilots to confront any potential adversary, operate in varied and distant scenarios, and tackle any threat, no matter how intricate.

300,000 square kilometers

To achieve its goals, this exercise simulates various challenging and demanding scenarios, maintaining a rigorous combat pace within an airspace spanning roughly 300,000 square kilometers—over half the size of the Iberian Peninsula. 

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Additionally, Arctic Defender is the only significant exercise slated for the Asia-Pacific tour, with others planned in Australia and India where participants will conduct live weapon launches. 

Moreover, collaboration with the French and German air forces aims to enhance interoperability among these allied nations, allowing them to share experiences and harmonize tactics and procedures.

About Red Flag-Alaska

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Exercise Red Flag-Alaska is a top-tier joint and coalition air combat training exercise held multiple times a year at Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. The exercise aims to simulate modern aerial warfare scenarios in a controlled, realistic environment. 

This training event attracts a diverse range of participants, including units from the United States Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and allied nations. Such diversity fosters the integration of various tactics, techniques, and procedures, boosting interoperability among the forces. 

Red Flag-Alaska includes an array of mission scenarios like air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, and electronic warfare. The environment replicates the challenges and unpredictability of real-world combat, offering participants invaluable hands-on experience. 

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Advanced simulations

A key component of Red Flag-Alaska is its use of advanced threat simulations. These simulations utilize adversary aircraft, ground-based air defenses, and electronic warfare systems to create a highly contested and authentic training setting. 

The exercise also highlights the importance of meticulous mission planning and debriefing. Participants dedicate considerable time to mission preparation, intelligence analysis, and unit coordination. Post-mission debriefings are thorough, focusing on performance evaluation, lessons learned, and improvement strategies for future operations. 

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Red Flag-Alaska plays a vital role in ensuring the readiness and effectiveness of U.S. and allied air forces. By providing a challenging and realistic training environment, it helps participants prepare for the complexities of modern combat operations.


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